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Orange Juice Lovers Arise!

Posted on December 6, 2016 by Jeanne Roberts There have been 0 comments

For most of history, orange juice has been a luxury, except in those climates where orange trees grew naturally.

Today, and for the last half-century (more or less), orange juice, better known as OJ, can be found on the breakfast tables of most people living in the developed world.

It’s a good thing. Or at least we always thought so, until dieticians started to warn about the high sugar content and how bad it was for diabetics, especially the type 2 variety.

Worry no more. Studies have shown that an 8-ounce (240 ml) glass of OJ contains enough flavonoids to boost attention, executive functions, and psychomotor speed in even the stodgiest of middle-aged men. For up to six hours after consumption. So just imagine what it can do for you. And the effect on blood sugar? Minimal, if you skip the cereal in favor of an egg or two.

You know what attention is, of course. It’s what you turn off when your Mom, boss, or SO is nagging. But executive functions? Well, those are a set of mental attributes operating from the brain’s frontal lobe that help you manage time, for example, or calculate how much you can afford to spend on something.

Psychomotor speed is simply the time it takes for your mind to translate an intention (I want a drink of water, for example) into an action. Fairly straightforward, once you get past the highfalutin’ language, and the essential elements in OJ – phytochemicals that include flavonoids (or flavors), carotenoids, indoles, and antioxidants – play a role not only in mental agility, but also in eyesight, via lutein and zeaxanthin. Yes, zeaxanthin, that curious ingredient also found in chewing gum (not all bad for you either, if you get the sugar-free variety with Stevia).

How does orange juice work these miracles? According to scientists, it stimulates blood flow through the brain as a result of “enhanced endothelial function and increased bioavailability of nitric oxide”.  In other words, OJ puts the brain in high gear. The same thing happens with chocolate (and probably coffee as well, since all are high in both flavonoids and antioxidants).

As  for its high-sugar content – actually, sucrose, but just as likely to raise blood sugar – orange juice is now also associated with lower total cholesterol levels and the prevention of endotoxin increases after high-fat, high-carbohydrate meals.

Here is where the biology gets complicated. Suffice to say that high fat and carbohydrate intake leads to an acute, postprandial (after-meal) rise of endotoxins, especially in impaired-glucose-tolerant and diabetic individuals, both types 1 and 2.

Endotoxins? They are the creepy, destructive contents of a bacterial cell, and are released when the cell disintegrates or dies, as it does during aptosis (cell division), which is what cells undertake when given a food supply.

But back to OJ. We love it for its taste, and for its cold, crisp sweetness on our tongues in the morning before (or after) coffee. And we love the way it makes us feel. So it was devastating to learn that, as diabetics, we had to give it up for the most part.

Not anymore. Indulge. If you must cut carbs, cut them from bread, donuts, pasta or potatoes, but keep the orange juice coming. It’s full of bioavailable nutrients – 10 percent in the orange itself, but up to 30 percent in freshly squeezed juice. And flavonoids? About 20 percent in an orange, but almost five times as much (96.5 percent) in fresh-squeezed OJ!

Fresh OJ also improved alertness, according to that same study, so look for your morning glass to make your morning commute that much safer. Just be sure to serve your juice in recycled, biodegradable plastic glasses, sippy cups or kid’s cups.

And don’t forget how much that boost might add to the possibility of a job promotion. So back to the breakfast table, everyone, and enjoy that golden-orange glass of juice! It’s all good…


This post was posted in Blog and Green Library, Eating Well, Health and Safety and was tagged with antioxidants, bioavailable, bioflavonoids, blood sugar, diabetes, endotoxins, executive functions, HEALTH SENSITIVE, indoles, lutein, OJ, Orange juice, psychomotor speed, sucrose

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